Cuba: Las Damas & Obama

Las Damas de Blanco have been rather high-profile lately, what with their arrest by the Cuban authorities as they attempted to stage a peaceful demonstration for the release of their imprisoned husbands on April 21. Soon after that incident, they took to the streets again, and this time were left alone. One member of the group got the attention of bloggers when she said “she will end a hunger strike only when she is allowed to visit her son, political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo.”

Now, Las Damas are in the spotlight again, but not for the reasons you might think. They are apparently endorsing US Presidential hopeful Barack Obama – or at least his plan to meet with the Castro regime.

Kill Castro says it's a position that most Cuban-Americans are not going to like:

In this letter Las Damas en Blanco are expressing hope Obama will be our next president. We all know that the majority of Cuban/American blogs have expressed their disdain for Obama. So now what? The most prominent dissent group in Cuba says Obama is their hope. Obviously the view south to north is never the same that the one north to south and that puts a lot of us in a quandary. In essence we do not know Cuba in 2008. But those who do, see this guy as a savior. Do we try to make them see the light? Do we take them off the list of the most respected dissident group in Cuba?

Ninety miles away…in another country acknowledges that the Ladies in White “have written an open, rather supportive, letter to Mr. Obama”, but maintains that “it did not seem an open endorsement of his candidacy”:

My fear is that he will continue to practice direct diplomacy with Cuban Americans all the time he sells us down the river. He will continue to talk a good game while he lifts restrictions against family travel. Then, it will be business's turn. Before you know it, all sanctions will be lifted, and Cuba will be no more free than it is today.

Babalu Blog, who is fascinated by the reactions elicited by Obama's speech in Miami, decides to take a closer look:

Senator, join the club. I too have lived my entire life in freedom while those in Cuba suffered under oppression. The difference is that I've been thinking about it for a lot longer than you have been running for president. Still I must congratulate you on recognizing something that many in your party have refused to recognize. That's admirable but it doesn't change the fact that you are a Barry come lately to the issue of Cuban freedom. Yes it's true that politicians tell Cuban-Americans what they want to hear, particularly around election time. I guess my question to you is what makes you any different? Why should I believe your promises? You say that President Bush's policy has “done nothing to advance freedom for the Cuban people” yet you don't specify how your policy would be appreciably different.

Responding to Las Damas‘ suggestion in their letter to Senator Obama that “a more creative policy could help the transition towards democracy and that the current confrontation is used by the authorities in Havana to justify their repression”, Uncommon Sense simply asks:

Considering the limited results of the current approach, might some creativity be what's needed?


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